It’s starting to feel like summer in these parts, which means New York City already has its swamp on. But me and my already-frizzy hair don’t care! I’m so excited that beach weather is here.
One of the things that would have made me feel like many saddie face emojis if we’d moved to LA is not getting to spend time on the Cape. I got my first little hit a few weeks ago when Charlie and I spent the weekend at the Martha’s Vineyard Wine Festival. It was such fun showing some of our friends around who’d never been to the island, and was a big reminder that I am WAY overdue for a Healthy Hedonist guide to my happy place. Consider it on the to-do list for summer.
My unofficial theme for May, in addition to book edits (which I am still painstakingly trying to finish), was teaching! I did my first open group cooking class at my DUMBO loft and, holy moly, did the experience make me feel all the feelings.
Since we’re in confession mode right now, I’ll admit that I really toed the line on this little venture, thanks to a lot of anxiety about having people in my home. I remember the feeling I got the first few times going on private jobs. I would inevitably be dreading it the day of, so much so that as I approached the building with groceries in hand, having no idea what kind of kitchen or ax murder might be waiting for me, I would seriously consider turning around and running home. It took four years and hundreds of clients to kick this preemptive dread. But eventually, I realized that the type of person who is willing to invite a stranger into their home is automatically pretty high on the chill scale. Once I got there, and got to know the apron-clad people lying waiting, the class inevitably became the highlight of my work week.
For whatever reason though, I felt this anxiety twofold the minute I announced the new classes in my space. I was dealing with so many variables—-the atmosphere, mix of people, hygiene, tablescape, equipment, roommate who might pop in at any second. Whereas before I could just show up. In other people’s homes, if one of the above was subpar, it wasn’t my fault. And if the people were creepy, I could always just leave.
All of this is to say: I found myself in the dark vortex of fearing success and fearing failure. And as a result, I didn’t really try that hard to sell tickets, and canceled the first two classes when only a few people signed up. So, failure.
All the feelings, guys.
I lucked out with a perfect 50/50 ratio of familiar faces and strangers. And thanks to the smallness of the world (and Jewish summer camps), my guests played the name game between chopping onions and became fast friends.
So, I’m going to fight my own neurosis and keep it going throughout the summer. If you’re interested in learning a few things in the kitchen, at a much better price point than my private classes, or just get pleasure out of making me feel intense anxiety and intense joy, I’ve just added dates for June, July and August! You can check out the Meatless Monday and Summer Seafood menus and buy tickets here.
Moving right along…
Second theme of the month (and likely the rest of my year): book edits!
One of the things I’ve been struggling with is keeping The Wellness Project up to date and relevant, despite the fact that it’s not coming out until February. Since my project started, hundreds of wellness books have hit stands—-including some by authors I interviewed for my project.
I read over 50 full books last year during the research process and only scratched the surface of what I wanted to cover. Perhaps another fun example of putting too much pressure on myself, but I feel it’s my duty to curate all the info for you guys so that you too don’t have to spend your whole summer slathered in natural zinc oxide with a stack of wellness books next to your beach chair!
I’ve tried my best to add some tidbits from new books that came out this spring, but as I head into the final round of edits, I know that I won’t be able to cram them all in there. So, in case you indeed want to bring a bunch of health books with you to the beach, here’s my summer wellness reading list (plus a few I tackled earlier this year):
The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time by Arianna Huffington
The sleep chapter of my book was one of the most interesting to write. And yet, the books out there were much more tip-oriented and cut-and-dried. After hearing Arianna on Gretchen Rubin’s podcast Happier, I’m even more excited to pick up this book. She talks about the romance of sleep and the need to invite our subconscious to play fascinating films every night. I really wanted to get more into the latter in my own book, but unfortunately, there was only so much I could talk about in 20 pages. I ironically started reading this while Charlie slept in this morning, and plan on finishing over the long weekend!
The Body Book was such a necessary love letter to all the amazing things that our bodies do for us. And one of the ways we most fight ourselves is in the battle against aging. I’m so glad that someone, particularly a celeb who feels these pressures more than the average person, is finally demystifying aging and writing about it in a positive rather than prescriptive way.
Love, Loss and What We Ate: A Memoir by Padma Lakshmi
I’ve heard great things about this memoir, and dear lord, I love Padma.
Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body by Kate Hudson
I don’t really care about Tom and Gisele’s diet, but I like to tune in to the public figures who are putting themselves out there with a message of body confidence. It sounds like there are a lot of healthy hedonist tidbits to be had in here. Also, Charlie and I bought a love fern together in Kate’s honor.
The Bloat Cure: 101 Natural Solutions for Real and Lasting Relief by Dr. Robynne Chutkan
I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Robynne for my Wellness Wednesday series and she is one smart cookie! I’m excited to dig into her latest title on gastro health.
Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food by Megan Kimble
This book had been on my list for a year, and I finally read it while in California. It’s funny, incredibly well researched and beautifully written. If you’re drawn in to food issues through an environmental lens, or just like personal journey memoirs, it’s a must read.
Year of No Sugar: A Memoir by Eve Schaub
Just discovered this title last week and wish I had gotten my hands on it before my month of no sugar! Ah, well.
RETOX: Yoga*Food*Attitude Healthy Solutions for Real Life by Lauren Imparato
Finally, a yoga book that offers solutions to real life problems! Ever wondered the best stretches to deal with a hangover? How about cramps? Back pain? Well, my friend Lauren put together this amazing practical guide that offers great 5-minute answers that you can do at your desk, and some food do’s and don’t for the same ailments.
Wellth: How I Learned to Build a Life, Not a Résumé by Jason Wachob
I’ve gotten to know Jason through my work with Mind Body Green and loved reading about his many wellness come-to-Jesus moments and life lessons in his memoir. The book is also packed with easy, accessible advice from amazing experts in the health space.
Also, here are the new additions to my cookbook shelf, some of which I’ve already shared recipes for: Plated, Eating in the Middle, The Love and Lemons Cookbook, Make it Easy, Eating Clean, N’Ice Cream, Pure Delicious.
Happy holiday weekend everyone!